Baugur still interested in Woolworths

19-08-2008

Baugur still interested in Woolworths
Icelandic firm Baugur has not given up after being rebuffed by Woolworths and has reportedly contacted other shareholders in their takeover bid.

According to the Financial Times, Baugur is attempting to attract more supporters to its offer in a bid to force the directors into reconsidering a deal.

Baugur has offered £50 million for 800 stores but Woolworths rejected the offer outright yesterday, claiming it undervalued the retailer and could harm the business.

The private equity firm, which operates several high street retailers including House of Fraser, Oasis and Goldsmiths, already owns ten per cent of Woolworths.

Baugur intends to install Malcolm Walker, the chief executive of supermarket chain Iceland, as head of Woolworths.

The board of Woolworths said selling off the retail division would leave the wholesale and publishing units burdened with pension liabilities.

Instead, the company has decided to keep the stores and allow incoming chief executive Steve Johnson to attempt a recovery.

Mr Johnson was brought in for his success in reviving DIY chain Focus.

Shares in Woolworths were up 11.13 per cent on investor hopes Baugur would come back with an improved offer.

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